Churchill County Commissioners approved at their first March meeting on Thursday a $35,000 contract for professional services with Resource Concepts Incorporated.
The contract was agreed upon with input from the community and oversight from both the commissioners and County Manager Eleanor Lockwood to analyze the Carson District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Plan (RMP). More over, RCI was hired to participate in updating Chapter 12 of the 2015 Master Plan, which discusses Churchill County’s Policy Plan for public lands. It has been under review for several months pending approval.
Churchill County has been participating as a cooperating agency in the district’s amendments to the land use plan, according to Lockwood.
The county has hosted several meetings in recent months addressing concerns from the western states about how the BLM is conducting business and if the counties are managing their resources in the best possible way.
Lockwood said the plan, approached in several different ways compared to prior land management plans, is already looking major changes at the federal level, which have resulted in concern.
“We need participation from the public, but also we need an entity actively involved in the plan that is familiar with the process and the other resource managements plan such as Sage Grauss being developed that could potentially have a strong impact in the way public lands are managed,” Lockwood said,
She is recommending RCI in particular because she believed their involvement with the RPM and updating the Master Plan will “give our county teeth and a seat at the table as the BLM moves forward with managing our public lands.”
Lockwood added this contract required a company with a history of attention and involvement in BLM’s planning as well as knowledge of Northern Nevada and rural communities, which she said RCI has displayed through their actions in Carson City, Lyon County, Lincoln County and several other communities.
The board invited RCI Senior Resource Specialist Jeremy Drew to discuss the plan from RCI’s perspective.
When asked by commissioner Carl Erquiaga how RCI’s plans to gain input from community, Drew said RCI would be submitting any and all updates to the RPM and the Master Plan via written proposals after a series of three meetings open to the public in Churchill County.
The meetings will be designed to discuss the final RMP with locals to inform the community on how it will influence public land policy, as well as to recommend changes and updates for the public to comment on before the commissioners approve or reject any changes.
“You have a great staff and there’s been a lot of information provided to the Carson RMP already,” Drew said addressing the commissioners on their involvement with the process. “So I think that will be key for us as we put together some recommendations going forward.”